Intended for healthcare professionals

Education And Debate

The rationing agenda in the NHS

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 22 June 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1593
  1. Bill New (inbill{at} the Rationing Agenda Group, senior research officera
  1. a King's Fund Policy Institute, London W1M 0AN
  1. Rationing Agenda Group Members of the group are listed at the end of this report.Correspondence to: Mr New.
  • Accepted 17 May 1996


Summary issues

  • What is the range of services relevant to issues of health care rationing?

  • What are the objectives of the NHS and what is the range of ethically defensible criteria for discriminating between competing claims for resources?

  • Whose values should be taken into account?

  • Who should undertake rationing?

  • What accountability mechanisms are appropri- ate?

  • How explicit should be the principles by which rationing is conducted?

  • What additional information would be required to make rationing more explicit and those respon- sible more accountable?

  • Is there enough knowledge to implement particular rationing strategies successfully?


  • Members of the Rationing Agenda Group are: Mr John Cairns, University of Aberdeen; Dr Nan Carle, King's Fund Management College, London; Dr Angela Coulter, King's Fund Development Centre, London; Professor Len Doyal, St Bartholomew's and the London Hospital School of Medicine and Dentistry, London; Professor John Gabbay, University of Southampton; Professor Raanan Gillon, Imperial College, London; Ms Heather Goodare, Horsham; Dr Iona Heath, Kentish Town Health Centre, London; Mr Chris Heginbotham, East and North Hertfordshire Health Authority, Welwyn Garden City; Mr John James, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster Health Commissioning Agency, London; Professor Alison Kitson, Royal College of Nursing, London; Dr Robert Maxwell, King's Fund, London; Professor Alan Maynard, Nuffield Provincial Hospitals Trust, London; Professor Sheila McLean, University of Glasgow; Rabbi Julia Neuberger, London; Mr Bill New, King's Fund Policy Institute, London; Ms Marianne Rigge, College of Health, London; Mr Nick Ross, London; Professor Peter Rubin, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham; Dr Richard Smith, BMJ, London; Professor Albert Weale, University of Essex; Professor Alan Williams, University of York; Ms Karen Brown, London.

  • Funding The King's Fund provided travel and accommodation funding for some members.

  • Conflict of interest None.

  • Accepted 17 May 1996
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